It is that happy season when we are allowed to make all the special treats, for family, and friends. It is Christmas. The Amish Fruit cake must grace the table during Christmas breakfast in our home.
It is super moist and delicious and cannot be compared to the store-bought dry and crumbly fruit cakes that are common during this season.
The dense flavor of a variety of fruits makes the Amish fruit cake a star every Christmas. There are many fruit cake recipes. The recipes vary depending on the ingredients added.
Some fruit cakes are dark and dense and fruits soaked in rum while others are light with a few fruits in the cake batter. I love this recipe, it has a balance of both worlds.
Why an Amish Recipe?
Most Amish women are good cooks, they are known for making classic homemade-tasting food from simple ingredients.
The Amish culinary heritage is strongly influenced by their European background. Their founding fathers previously lived in Europe but migrated to America, fleeing religious persecution.
They found freedom of worship in America and settled in many parts of the country. Most of the Amish live in closely-knit communities having minimal interaction with the outside world.
They faithfully pass down their cultural and religious practices and beliefs from one generation to another.
I was born into a family that moved from a strict Amish Order to a less strict one. I found my parents owning a vehicle and a few conveniences such as electrical appliances!
Though once in a while, we enjoy a buggy ride through the beautiful, pristine Amish Country. I love the Amish lifestyle, especially after Sunday service lunches and special family gatherings such as Christmas.
It was almost mandatory to have basic skills in gardening, sewing, or cooking. I gladly majored in cooking and baking as I honestly love good food.
Who does love good food out there hehe … Amish families are large, each home having an average of 5 children.
This meant we had to prepare a lot of food or many baked goods. My mother’s cakes were famous and she successfully ran a home bakery.
We had a collection of vintage recipe books that we always refer to. Making cakes for sale and the Sunday crowd gave me and my siblings time to perfect our baking skills.
How to make Amish Fruit cake
There are many types of fruit cake recipes out there. Most of them call fruits soaked in rum over a long period.
No form of alcohol would ever step near my mother's kitchen, it was forbidden. We would soak our fruits in fruit juice for a day as long as the mixture is refrigerated.
In our recipe, we would soak our fruits and nuts in grape juice overnight. The following morning, we would mix all the ingredients and bake the fruit cake.
Prepare ahead by soaking the fruits in the fruit juice of your choice, preferably non-alcoholic grape juice.
(It doesn't hurt if you use raisins as there are, I forgot to soak mine and baked them as they were, the problem is that they burn fast because the do not have sufficient moisture like the ones soaked in juice)
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment till fluffy with soft peaks, gradually add the melted butter, egg yolks, sugar, and molasses while beating at high speed.
In another mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients and sift them into the egg mixture. Mix with the paddle attachment, alternating the flour mixture and the milk. Fold in the soaked fruits and nuts and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
In a greased pan, bake the fruit cake in a preheated oven at 300F for 45 minutes.
Check the readiness by inserting a wooden toothpick or skewer. Let the cake cool, and wrap it with plastic wrap to trap all the moisture and flavors.
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTION
Dried or preserved fruits: red and green cherries, orange peels, golden and black raisins.
Nuts: chopped pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut.
All-purpose flour has always worked well in my fruit cakes.
Sugar sweetens the cake batter, you can substitute sugar with healthier sweeteners such as honey.
Molasses gives a dense brown color to the fruit cake and adds a rich molasses flavor as well.
Eggs add moisture and volume to the fruit cake. Eggs enrich it with proteins as well.
Melted butter increases the level of moisture and enhances the overall flavor of the Amish fruit cake.
You can use vegetable oil in place of melted butter. If you are cautious about calories, you can substitute melted butter with applesauce.
Baking powder and baking soda
Baking powder and baking powder are the chemical leavening agents in the recipe.
The two agents react with ingredients in the cake batter releasing gas, The gas released makes the cake airy and light.
Vanilla essence introduces a mildly sweet undertone to the Amish fruit cake, blending perfectly with the fruit flavors.
Milk enriches the Amish fruit cake by increasing the amount of moisture in the Amish fruit cake, we all love moist cakes.
Salt compliments the other flavors in the Amish Fruit Cake.
Mixing bowls are good for mixing dry and wet ingredients
Loaf baking tins
Loaf tins always give me my desired shape of the fruit cake, however, feel free to use round pans especially if you plan to frost and decorate the cake.
Hand-held electric mixer or stand mixer
Mixers make the mixing process short and fun as well, children can gladly help to mix the egg whites. They enjoy seeing the volume increase and the soft peaks form.
A rubber spatula or wooden spoon
A rubber spatula scrapes the bowl effectively while pouring the cake batter into the baking tin. It folds in the fruits without over-mixing.
A sieve breaks the lamps in the flour and the other dry ingredients. You do not want to bite into a lump of baking powder that didn't mix well in the cake batter.
The parchment paper keeps the Amish Fruit Cake from sticking to the loaf tin.
If you do not have these rolls in your pantry, you can grease the loaf tin.
FAQ AMISH FRUIT CAKE
Why is my Amish Fruit Cake dry and crumbly?
A common cause of this problem is failing to measure ingredients accurately. Excess flour in the cake batter will make it dry because the level of moisture in the fruit cake is very low.
Always practice scooping and level-out methods while scooping flour from the main container.
Use a bread knife to remove excess flour from the cup. This will ensure your Amish fruit cake has the right amount of moisture.
PRO TIP AMISH FRUIT CAKE
Use room temperature ingredients.
Do not be tempted to use ingredients that have been in the refrigerator such as eggs.
Cold ingredients will not mix effectively with the rest of the ingredients. Remember to remove eggs from the refrigerator hours before you start baking.
Do not overmix your cake batter
If you overmix your wet and dry wet ingredients, your fruit cake will be rubbery and tough.
The gluten stands contained in wheat are activated by overmixing. As soon as the wet and dry ingredients are mixed, resist the urge of mixing.
Enjoy the delicious Amish Fruit Cake with a cup of coffee during Christmas breakfast.
You can also put a smile on the face of a child by sharing this with children or the elderly in this special season.
Amish Fruit Cake
- 3 ½ cups All purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 large Eggs separated, tip room temp
- 1 cup Melted butter
- ½ cup Molasses
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla essence
- 1 cup cup raisins,
- ½ cup Green and red cherries,
- ½ cup Chopped orange peel.
- Soak the fruits in the fruit juice of your choice, preferably non-alcoholic grape juice.
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment till fluffy with soft peaks.
- Gradually add the melted butter, egg yolks, sugar, and molasses as you continue to beat at high speed.
- In another mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients with the paddle attachment or rubber spatula alternating the flour mixture and the milk. Fold in the soaked fruits and nuts and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- In a greased pan, bake the Amish fruit cake in the preheated oven at 300F for 45 minutes.
- Check the readiness by inserting a wooden toothpick or skewer. Let the cake cool, and wrap it with plastic wrap to trap all the moisture and flavors.